If you thought spending $149.99 for a massive collector's edition is too much, what about folks like commenter Gemini-Phoenix, who feel compelled to purchase every limited collector's edition that comes out. Let's hear his desperate please to publishers in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.
In the world of collector's edition (CE) video game collecting, we have either enjoyed (or been plagued by, depending on how you perceive it) an increase of CE's being offered by video game publishers over the last few years. However, many collectors now feel somewhat overwhelmed physically, as well as financially, by the sheer quantity of CE's being released these days
We can't deny that 2008-2011 have had some amazing Collector's Editions on offer, although a lot of collectors do feel that most of them are unnecessary and nothing more than a cash-in on a trend which is starting to get out of control! Considering the world is currently supposed to be in economic recession, many feel that releasing an insanely expensive CE for every other major video game release is incredibly insensitive. Most collectors also feel as if their hobby is being taken advantage of by publishers these days, and very few publishers actually listen to what the fans and collectors actually request
It's not just about the financial pressures either. Storage space plays an important role for any collector, and there has been an increase of CE's lately which are seriously large and bulky, and difficult to store or display. Also, they are very difficult for retailers to ship, and many collectors regularly receive such things in less-than-perfect condition - I have personally received several large CE's which have all had the corners bashed in where they have obviously been dropped because of their size and weight!
Some recent examples of larger CE's include:
Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Prestige Edition)
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Prestige Edition)
Crysis 2 (Nano Edition)
Gears Of War 3 (Epic Edition)
Halo 3 (Legendary Edition)
Halo Reach (Legendary Edition)
Killzone 3 (Helghast Edition)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (CE)
Uncharted 3 (Explorer Edition)
And to a lesser extent:
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Codex Edition)
Bioshock 2 (CE)
Dead Island (Treasure Edition)
God Of War Trilogy (Pandora's Box)
GTA IV (CE)
Mortal Kombat (CE)
Do these publishers think us collectors live in a TARDIS or something?
Whilst we appreciate that the publishers are giving the fans and collectors something special, we feel that it's getting a little too much for even the most hardened collector to keep up with, especially towards the end of each year when every publisher seems to want to release their triple-A titles before the holiday season
To use this year (2011) as an example, November sees the release of some of the biggest titles of the year, which all seem to have an expensive and bulky CE available. The month starts off with titles such as Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim, and finishes with several major releases from Nintendo. Needless to say, it's an expensive time of the year as it is already due to the approaching seasonal holiday, without factoring in being a CE collector!
It wouldn't be so bad if these Collector's Editions were smaller and less expensive. I remember a time when a newly released game would retail at around £35 with a Limited or Collector's Edition retailing at around £50. This was fine until some publishers decided to start releasing more elaborate editions and charging upwards of £80 for them. There was also a time when it was unheard of for a Collector's Edition to retail at above this price, but nowadays it seems acceptable to have an over-the-top CE priced at over £99.99!
The annoying thing about these is, we're tricked into thinking these are somewhat limited in number so that we pre-order before release, but within two or three weeks of release the unsold stock is reduced by half and sold off in the store sales! However, if we wait until after release for this to happen, Murphy's Law dictates that they will sell out on pre-orders, so we can't win either way! Either we pay a premium to secure ourselves a sought after CE, or we take the risk and wait until the retailers inevitably reduce the price and hope that they don't sell out before release...
As if that itself wasn't bad enough, some publishers feel the need to release more than one edition for a title. It is now commonplace to have two, three, or more editions available for one game, whether they be different tiered editions or store exclusives. Some recent titles which spring to mind are Fallout 3, the Assassin's Creed games, and the recently released Batman: Arkham City. Is there really any need for so many editions on the market at any given time?
In addition to this, many publishers have now adopted the tactic of releasing "Day One" Limited Editions - Limited copies of the game which may feature some DLC bonus for buying the game on release day rather than waiting until the price is reduced or buying it used. EA and THQ are the main culprits here, and it has gotten to the point where nearly every single game EA released in 2011 has had some form of "Day One" edition - Even FIFA!
Therefore, I would like to say on the behalf of all collectors: THE BUCK STOPS HERE!
It's nice to have a choice and all, but too much choice can be a bad thing. By all means release a Collector's Edition, but please keep it sensible and within a realistic budget for us collectors. Also, keep it a sensible size so we can store / display it properly on our shelves, rather than having to relegate it to the attic / basement / garden shed! Most people I know who originally bought the Crysis 2 Nano Edition have long since sold it due to the fact that they simply can't store something of that size!
I am so far looking forward to seeing what CE's 2012 brings, but part of me is also dreading it. If this year is anything to go by, I think I may end up going bankrupt before 2012 is out! The majority of my video game budget has gone mainly on CE's this year, leaving me very little spare to purchase "normal" games.
I'll finish with just a little something for publishers to think about for future reference - If I'm spending £130 on your overly excessive CE, that's effectively two other subsequent titles of yours I can't afford to buy. If you're wondering why sales of ABC and XYZ games are low, it's because I've already spent my monthly budget buying an elaborate CE for my collection...